Accomplishments and Expectations.

The other day I had a casual friend ask me if I’d sold any books. I giggled, and responded that I haven’t even sent my query letters out for representation yet. “Oh,” he said. “So, you haven’t really accomplished anything.” He wasn’t being mean or snarky, but he does have a different idea of accomplishment then I do.

When he said that I about fell down and roared with laughter. Instead, I laughed softly and said. “I wrote a book, dude. That’s a huge accomplishment.” And it is. I’ve written my book and it’s gone through edits and revisions. I’ve learned how to write a query letter, and a synopsis. These are not easy things! So each step is an accomplishment. Especially when you deal with Fibromyalgia and assorted autoimmune diseases, each one messes with cognitive function and makes things harder than they should be. It takes me much longer then it ever used to, to get things done. But that is ok. I do eventually do it.

So, accomplishments. I have them and they make me happy, I am well on my way towards my next accomplishment. That will be sending out my first flurry of agent queries. I’m on pace to reach my goal of getting them out by the end of the month.

That brings me to expectations. When people find out you’ve written a book and hope to publish, they have the expectation that it goes pretty quickly. If you’re a writer you know the process takes years. My expectations are fairly modest. I expect myself to accomplish the goals that I set. Period. One at a time. And I have been doing that and it pleases me.

It’s harder to explain that to people who aren’t familiar with how I work. And don’t know how the process works. Expectations are the way to disappointment. I don’t expect everyone to love my book. I don’t expect to find an agent right away. I do however, expect to send out a LOT of queries. I hope, that an agent will love it enough to want to represent it. The best thing we can do for ourselves is ignore other people expectations. Focus on our goals and be proud when we accomplish them.

victory

 

 

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#slacker

Not gonna lie, I’ve been a bit of a slacker the last few weeks. My brain took a much needed,  but frankly unwanted, vacation from the world of synopsis writing. But now it is time to get back to it. I feel like my synopsis is as good as it is going to be, at least until I get some responses from agents asking me what I am trying to do, and hopefully pointing out my errors. 😀

I love this picture by The Oatmeal. It pretty much encapsulates my last three weeks.

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So, over the next week I am going to tidy up my first 10 chapters, practice formatting and then, start sending out the queries. I need to focus on my agent list, it tells me clearly which agent wants what, so that will help me send out everything I need to in a timely manner. As long as I FOCUS. Ugh. I have been having a tough time with that recently. My brain is everywhere, except where it needs to be.

My health issues are mostly to blame for the lack of focus, and I usually am pretty good at riding it out. But it can be very frustrating, especially when there are things I really want to get done. Like my queries! I have learned though, that it is better to wait, because I make stupid mistakes if I try to rush it. It’s difficult to accept sometimes, but I am learning.

So I am starting to feel better, my brain is getting less foggy. Now, I have my goal of prepping my queries+synopsis+chapters for sending by next weekend. 😀

 

Well then. Stupid, tyrannical synopsis.

My nemesis, that thing that has baffled me for months now, is almost finished. I researched my little heart out and I have read approximately 5 gazillion successful synopsi. Synopsi? Either that’s the plural of synopsis or I just made it up. whichever, I like it.

I’m actually feeling pretty good about it. I squeezed every last bit of extra out of it, then I had to reinsert some because I left it dry and practically unreadable. It has some emotion to it now. I’ll probably tweek it a bit here and there before I pronounce it ready.

I’ve tried having people read and critique the synopsis. But I have realized that is a fairly impossible expectation. How can they now if it has all the relevant info, and nothing superfluous if they haven’t read the book? So, I am going to have to go with my gut on this one and aim for the fences. I don’t know how many swings I’m going to have to take before I get a hit. But that is ok. I’m patient. Next on my list is spiffing up the first 10 chapters. That won’t take long though. With any luck, (ahem, discipline) I should have my first round of queries to send out by the end of the month!

I have a list of agents,

Some need query+synopsis

Others need query+synopsis+first 3-10 chapters.

I am excited to really start querying!

On a different note, I had two more injections in my spine today, these are regular maintenance for my back. I am proud that I am being responsible about this and getting them done in a timely manner. Instead of putting it off so long that I have to get even more. I had two done, two weeks ago, and now these today. With any luck I’ll be good to go and my back will be manageable, or dare I hope….comfortable? At least for a while. 😀 I am playing softball again this summer, so my back has to at least be manageable and up for some running. I played last summer, for the first time in years, and sucked pretty badly because I was so sick. I feel a lot better this year and I am starting PT soon so hopefully…just hopefully there will be less suckage.

So heres to successful querying and a fun softball season!

Never-let-the-fear-of-striking-out-get-in-your-way

 

 

Who am I, anyway? Continued…

It’s taken me longer than I thought it would to finish this post. But that is ok, to be honest it is very typical for how I work these days. Lots of times I simply do not feel well enough to get a lot of things done in a timely manner. So we left off with when I first started seriously thinking about writing a novel.

I’d had an idea in my head, for approximately forever, of the story I wanted to write. But, I literally had no idea of how to write a book. So, being me, I researched. A lot. I learned about how other people wrote books, and how they thought books should be written, and probably more importantly how they should not be written. I learned about genres and tense and pov and this and that and wow. There is a lot involved with writing a novel.

Should I plot it all out, or just start? That was a big decision. I started off with making a bunch of lists and notes.  Because of my short term memory issues I found I had a hard time remembering pretty simple things so my character list was pretty fleshed out, names, occupation, appearance and a few other tidbits to keep me on track.

But I discovered I am not a plotter.  I wrote a few key points and than tried to do a whole outline. That hung me up for a few weeks before I finally said whatever…I’m doing this my way and sat down to write.

And never looked back. lol I’m a pantser all the way. 😀

Once I started my first draft I discovered a few things about myself. I am a terribly typist, honestly. Completely awful. I already kind of knew that, but seriously it’s a bit ridiculous. One thing I did, and will still do occasionally is replace the  apostrophe with a quotation mark and let me tell you. That looks really stupid. Thanks fingers.

It took two years to finish my first draft, affectionately known as my brain vomit. Or, if I am feeling protective, I may refer to it as my brain baby. Since I never looked back once I started, and I mean that so literally. I started writing and didn’t read what I’d written until I was finished with it. lol Anyhow, once I was finished I was pretty impressed that it was a fairly cohesive manuscript. That desperately needed editing. I will be forever grateful to my Alpha reader for slogging through it.

And then started the journey towards becoming a published writer. Learning how to write a query  letter (fun) and now learning how to write a synopsis. (sucktastic)

From what I’ve learned, and believe me I have learned a lot, it is terribly hard to sell your first novel. It may never happen. But I promise you one thing, it won’t be because I sucked at trying. 😀

dreambigposter

 

I’d planned on finishing my “who am I” from a few weeks ago today, but that is going to have to wait because I am feeling drawn, no…compelled to write about a particular problem I have seen one too many times.

WRITERS GROUPS

And why they kinda, sometimes, seriously, suck.

As you know, or should know, have you been paying attention? lol I have been working on my horrible, no good, very bad synopsis. It’s crazy hard trying to condense a 90.000+ manuscript into 1000ish words. CRAZY HARD. It has not been my favorite thing. I’ve whittled my monster down to 1200ish words, and while I think it has a lot of potential, I know I need fresh eyes on it to get it all beautified so an agent will find it irresistible.

Well, I posted that in a writers group I recently joined. I said basically the same thing. That I needed help with my synopsis, any tips or advice on how to get fresh eyes on it was welcomed. What I got (amongst the welcoming but sadly not helpful comments) was one chick commenting, was she the only person that writes the book before looking for an agent. About 6 people chimed in on her comment with versions of the same question.  To this I said, Huh? or more accurately, I said, “why would anyone assume I hadn’t finished my novel? Then she told me not to get offended because she was talking about other people in the group. In a direct comment on my post, but ooookkkkk.

Two others kindly gave me links on how to write a query letter. (did they even read??) It’s worth noting here that one of those was the chick that commented about finishing the novel before finding an agent. Mmm Hmm

Still one more, (after I clarified for everyone that book was done, query letter also done, just needing help to polish synopsis) asked me if I was looking for beta readers for my query letter! I asked her if she was making a joke, but no, she was seriously asking. I said no, thank you I am not looking for beta readers, I just need help with my synopsis.

What followed was your basic troll fest as people became incredibly offended, as I tried to explain what I was looking for. I finally gave up and left the group after the woman I though was joking told me “Dude, you’re asking for beta readers.” Then she called me rude when I responded with, “Dude, wrong, I am looking for help critiquing my synopsis.”

I gave up. It was clearly not the group for me.

It’s sad too, some of the people were quite nice. One offered cheesecake.

This is the second time I’ve left a writers group, last time was for similar reasons. Maybe it’s me?

computer_rage_02.08.2009

Who am I, anyway?

I’ve managed to whittle my synopsis down to about 1200 words. That means I’ve cut roughly 1100 words off of the first draft. I no longer consider it a terrible, horrible no good very bad synopsis. Now I can look at it and see potential! This is a pretty exciting step forward in the process. I’m letting it percolate for a while before I go back and start trying to fine tune it. In the meantime I thought I would share a bit more about myself with you. I’ll be adding it to an “about” section of the blog, as soon as I figure out how. 😉

So, here I am. I’ve always wanted to write a book. But I’ve never been a very prolific writer. I love journals, but hate journaling. I have a dozen or so beautiful journals, some are gifts, some I’ve bought for myself…all of them empty. Or, with a few lonely pages written on with total commitment (at the time) and lofty goals of actually filling a whole journal. Yeah, that just doesn’t happen.

I tend to keep my words inside my head. Not to say I’m a particularly quiet person. Because, I’m not. I could be described as loud, and I can be. 🙂 I’m vocal and outgoing and I am not afraid of that. I’m also intensely private and very, very, good at talking without saying much about myself. I’m also painfully honest too, so if you ask me a question, you best be ready for a real answer. Although, I’ve gotten much better at using tact (a previously foreign concept) when discussing things with people. Believe me, that did not come naturally and I am proud of having figured it out. Mostly figured it out.

So I have wondered about what to put in my “about” section. Currently it would not be very interesting! I am a married, middle aged woman with one child in highschool. I love animals and we have cats, dogs, fish and soon we’re adding a snake to our menagerie. I live in a beautiful city close to Seattle Washington and would not live anywhere else. I’ve always been very active, I love sports and being outdoors.

But I got hurt about 9 years ago. I was no longer active. I couldn’t play sports. I had to stop working and it was all very sad and depressing. We won’t go much into that but I have health challenges, terrible spine issues, ME,  fibromyalgia and sjogrens disease. (if you’d like to know more, feel free to ask) Because I no longer worked and I was very ill,  it changed everything.

I didn’t know what to do with myself. Heck, I barely knew who I was anymore! So, I had to figure it out, it took a long time. My health became my full time job and I am so thankful for my supportive husband and daughter. It took a long time, in all seriousness, it took years to get to a point where I could focus on things outside my health and immediate family.

So I needed something to do. Something worthwhile, something to help me feel like I could still set goals and accomplish things. My Husband and daughter encouraged me to write. At first I scoffed. My brain had the dumb! I am not even kidding, it still does. I have a terrible time these days because cognitive issues are very common with what I deal with. Some days I can’t write at all, and sometimes I have to stop in the middle of what I am doing and wait til another day.

But I became intrigued by the possibility of writing a book. I certainly had enough time to do it. Which is a good thing because it took me forever to write my first draft.

That is enough for today. 🙂 This post got very long and I hope that someone will read it. LOL I will continue it in my next post.

She turned her can'ts into cans and her dreams into plans